In August 2014, we returned with a team of scientists from six weeks at sea conducting research in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — one of five major garbage patches drifting in the oceans north and south of the Equator at the latitude of our great terrestrial deserts. Although it was our 10th voyage to the area, we was utterly shocked to see the enormous increase in the quantity of plastic waste since our last trip in 2009. Plastics of every description—from toothbrushes to tires to unidentifiable fragments too numerous to count, floated past our marine research vessel Alguita for hundreds of miles without end. We even came upon a floating island bolstered by dozens of plastic buoys used in oyster aquaculture that had solid areas you could walk on.